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Non Writers Say What?

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I stumbled upon a great hashtag on twitter today whilst glancing at my phone intermittently as I supervise the children during school holidays (hey I deserve to look at my phone. I sat through an entire movie of Spongebob this morning that I’m certain lowered my IQ significantly). It’s called #NonWritersSay and it’s all about the things that, well, non-writers often say to authors, the things that the non-writers—bless them—have no idea are actually incredibly insulting.

It’s now the 3rd highest trending item on twitter, not because writers do nothing but fart around on twitter (although we’d all confess to latching onto any and every distraction when the MS isn’t going well), but because there’s this deeply-rooted painful ball of frustration and near insane anger that lives inside us, a ball that sits tight in our stomachs and gets bigger and bigger every time somebody makes some (often well meaning, many times simply callous) remark about what we do and why it’s easy/not relevant/stupid or pointless.

To be clear nobody’s saying ALL non-writers say these things. We know there are so many of you out there, especially our lovely loyal readers, who appreciate what we do and may even admire it. I don’t even need or especially want admiration (but hell it never hurts), but what I would like is a bare modicum of respect, the same kind of respect bankers get for being bankers, or lawyers get for knowing the law, or even that waitresses get for delivering meals (I bet they never get asked to deliver the meals for free because it’s not like waitressing is real work now, is it?)

So just for the hell of it and because I haven’t done a top five in quite a while, I thought I’d give you all my top five unintended insults from non-writers who—again I say bless ‘em—are completely missing the damn point.

1. “Oh, you’re a writer? I don’t read books”

I can’t even overstate how :0 my face becomes at this one. Not only to encounter somebody who is literate, has the capability to read but CHOOSES NOT TO READ BOOKS (are these pod people?), but to meet somebody so insensitive to your feelings that they basically dismiss your passion—what was the passion of Hemmingway and Austen and the Bronte Sisters—as something not even worth their time (I mean, not even one book a year people? NOT ONE?). Not only that, but they’re the kind of people who TELL YOU THIS TO YOUR FACE. Do artists get this? “Oh you’re an artist? I don’t look at paintings. Saving my eyes for something more important.” What about plumbers? “Oh you’re a plumber? I don’t use toilets. I shit in the woods. Plumbers are completely pointless and irrelevant.”

Like I said. Pod people. Pod people who shit in the woods like bears and don’t read books

(original quote tweeted by @allisonmaruska, but I have heard this many times myself)

2. Would I have read anything you’ve written? Me: do you read ebooks? Them: oh no. I only read real books.

I can’t help but wonder if these people also play Angry Birds, or do they always have to break out the traditional version of Monopoly and dust it off before they consider they’re playing a ‘real game’. Is the point of playing games to touch the Monopoly board? To physically move the pieces around the board? Or is it to have fun? Pass the time? Challenge yourself and your friends? Give you something to take your mind off a shitty day.

Guess what? Stories, like games or movies or music, can do all those things. Even when they’re read from a screen. The essence of the experience doesn’t change, only the method of delivery. I totally understand that not everybody has the technology to comfortably read ebooks. I have no problem at all with that. What I do have a problem with is somebody telling me that ebooks are not ‘real’ books.

Again it’s like saying that what I do is irrelevant. Pointless. Not real.

3. “I haven’t read any of your books but I want to. There’s just so much available for free though. Are any of yours going to be free?”

I don’t know what to tell ya. I’m sorry I feel I have the right to charge for something that took months of my life to get right, for something I did that ate into family time, that I slogged away at from 5am til 7am before I got my kids ready for school and then had to head to my day job, something that caused me countless hours of angst. I’m sorry you feel that a story that will give you hours of entertainment (hopefully!) isn’t worth what you pay for your daily Grande Skinny Mochachinno that you sip on the way to work and don’t even notice the flavor of anyway. I mean, that thing costs $6 and it took the barrista all off 1 minute and 45 seconds to make it. But my book that I spent six months on? Nah. You just wait for that to come out for free one day. Otherwise I’m just robbing you blind

(coffee to book price comparison idea thanks to @sonyacraig15)

4. “Oh you write romance? But you’re good enough to write a real book.”

I know when people say this it’s meant as a compliment. They’re trying to say that I’m a good writer. That I could find a more mainstream audience for my work. That I don’t have to waste my time writing fluffy little books that only borderline illiterate housewives read. I mean I could be read by reviewers from the Sydney Morning Herald if I put my mind to it (which clearly, I have not been doing thus far because the Herald hasn’t noticed me). Yep, all I need to do is apply myself and I could write something respectable. Since I’m already applying myself between the hours of 5am and 7am writing books that actually make me and my readers happy, I suppose I could find this extra time to impress the Board of Wanky Literati Snobs between 3 am and 4:55am. Who needs sleep? The deprivation will probably give me the gloomy frame of mind necessary to write something depressing and gritty that educated people would find worthy of their consideration.

Perfect plan really. Maybe I will write a ‘real’ book one day

5. “You should get them to make a movie out of your book”

@Whitcummings on twitter said it best

“I’ll get right on that. “Directors! Producers! Get your asses over here.”

This one belongs right up there with “You should write a bestseller”, as the best advice Captain Obvious ever gave. Why don’t more writers think of that? Just get a movie deal FFS! I could kiss those early mornings goodbye that’s for sure. Maybe I could even meet Bradley Cooper.

Hmm. Bradley Cooper…. *stares into space like Homer Simpson*

Wait. What was I saying again?

Oh right. A movie deal. I’m going to start EL Jamesing the shit out of that idea. It’s got to be super easy to get ‘them’ to make a movie out of my erotic romance novel.

Oh gosh, there are so many more of these I could do but it’s not a top five if I do ten. Perhaps I’ll do a part 2 next week if the sarcasm hasn’t made anyone drop dead yet.

Cheers,

(and thank you so much ❤ to all the readers out there who know what we do and appreciate it, and even more, PAY for our books. We ❤ ❤ ❤ you!)

Sami

Love Is Part 2

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So I have to come up with my favorite love quote? How can I pick one? I couldn’t so I decided to make it a TOP FIVE LIST, yay! Because I haven’t done one in a while. So here goes

1. I started with music, because to me music is always so evocative, especially when you’re listening to a true master poet like Bob Dylan:

When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love.

Too Make You Feel My Love – Bob Dylan

Seriously one of the most touching songs ever written. Those words say love to me.

2. BUT so does something quirky like this:

“We’re all a little weird. And life is a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall into mutually satisfying weirdness—and call it love—true love.”
Robert Fulghum, True Love

3. AND something that rings so completely true, like this:

Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile

Franklin P Jones

4. Let’s not forget about self-love either. No, I don’t mean that kind :). I mean the love of self, the most important love affair of our lives. It’s probably ironic that one of my favorite of these types of quotes comes from a woman who you wouldn’t immediately imagine had a strong sense of self, but these words tell the real story:

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”
― Marilyn Munroe

5. You know I love movies, right? It’s soooo hard to pick my favorite love quote from a movie. In fact it probably deserves another list but I won’t go on with that now. Instead I’ll pick the most poignant, meaningful, heart-felt quote I can think of.

Nobody puts Baby in a corner

Johnny Castle – Dirty Dancing

What? What? That’s totally cool. He’s standing up to her dad, defending her, bringing her from the shadows into the light because only he understands how brightly she can shine, and he’s letting everyone know with his passion how much he loves her. And all in only 6 words, none of which are the word ‘love’. I likes it :).

So what’s your favorite love quote from a book, movie, song, or even from your grandma. Tell us!

Cheers,

Sami

Five Dodgy Lessons From Cinderella

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We took the girls to the movies on the weekend. They’ve been playing all the classic Disney films at reduced prices. I’d never seen the original movie of Cinderella and the kids needed to get out of the house so off we set.

Well, I had a shock I tell you. I’d read the story as a kid of course, and always sensed there was something a little off about the whole glass slipper fits=true love scenario, but at a young age I couldn’t really put my finger on what was wrong with it. Seeing this story retold as an adult woman and a mother who’s trying to teach her kids to be independent, smart individuals, I was caught between hysterical laughter and concern over the messages this movie inflicts on young minds:

  1. If a handsome prince gets to be in his twenties and has shown so little interest in women that his father organises aball to push the women in the kingdom onto him, it’s because he hasn’t met the right girl. Not because he’s secretly gay or anything.
  2. If life – or an evil stepmother – beats you down, you must remain sweet and kind at all times, doing nothing to get yourself out of the bad situation. Just sit on your ass and believe that your fairy Godmother will show up and fix it all for you.
  3. When said FG shows up and proves to be capable of the most amazing magic, you should use it on a pretty dress, a carriage and a trip to a dance. Not to take you out of town and away from your bitch of a stepmother. That doesn’t make any sense.
  4. Magic powerful enough to turn a pumpkin into a carriage and mice into horses, is not powerful enough to last beyond the stroke of midnight. You must never question this.
  5. The only way out of a bad family situation is to marry the first guy who kisses you. Within 24 hours of meeting him. Even if the guy has so little memory of your face from the night before that he needs a shoe-fit comparison to know you’re the girl he’s looking for. Even if this knowledge and interest in shoes seems to be conclusive proof that he is secretly gay, after all.

Yeah, those are the messages I want my girls to takeaway from their moving going experience. Not.

I think the tale of Cinderella is in serious need of an overhaul. Surely we can build a better path to HEA than this.

Sami

Top Five things I learned at ARRC 2013

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  1. You can team a pair of pink heels with an orange dress, but no matter what colour the shoes, eventually you’ll have to take them off.Divas at ARRC13
  2. It’s okay to trawl the internet for pictures on half naked men in the name of romance research. Kristan Higgins said so (which justifies my man pics pinterest board nicely, thank you Kristan)
  3. Erotic romance readers and writers are the most awesome people around. Not everyone is willing to volunteer to do the most awkward and embarrassing things all in the name of fun (thank you to the lovely lady whose Sally-in-the-sandwich-shop demonstration really added spice to our erotica panel on Sunday)
  4. It’s all right to struggle every time you write a book. It’s normal. Painful and frustrating, but normal.
  5. Getting together with other romance writers, especially my fellow divas, never gets old. And we never have enough time together before planes, trains and automobiles force us apart again.

Until next time, let’s keep writing girls!

Sami

 

Celluloid Sex

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I came across an article today about a couple that embraced passionately during riots in Canada, and I thought, aww. That’d make a great romantic movie scene. It’ll probably turn out to be a publicity stunt meant to generate interest in a new men’s cologne or something. The photo looks suspiciously posed. Still, this got me thinking about the great romantic movie moments… which got me thinking about movie sex scenes. What can I say it’s how my mind operates. I compiled a top five, my a favorite movie love scenes.

  1. An Officer and a Gentleman – I must admit to having a serious thing for Richard Gere. I’ll have to do a post about Silver Foxes one of these days. This is probably my favourite of all his movies. The scenes between him and Debra Winger were so steamy it proves the only thing better than a man in uniform is a man out of one!
  2. The Big Easy – I love the mood of this movie. The sultry atmosphere, the southern accents… and Denis Quaid’s abs aren’t bad either. There’s a scene when he’s seducing Ellen Barkin and he tells her that things are done nice and slow in the big easy that makes me want to hop a plane and go there. And not just for the Gumbo. 
  3. BullDurham– Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon put some interesting visuals to the musical lyrics ‘Sixty Minute Man’. There’s actually no nudity, only very strong suggestion of what’s going on. Is there such a thing as explicit suggestiveness? Who can forget the bath water sloshing over the side of the tub, or Kevin tying Susan up to… paint her toenails. Now that’s a pedicure. 
  4. Unfaithful – When I first heard about this movie I didn’t get it. The character played by Diane Laneis married to a character played by Richard Gere. My Richard Gere thing raises it’s head again. How could anyone cheat on him? Then I saw the movie and I got it. The picture below pretty much says it all. 
  5. Titanic – no matter what else you or I might say about the movie, i.e. that it’s a tad long and a manipulative tear jerker, that scene in the car is damn memorable. Kate Winslet’s hand sliding down the window, all that panting. It’s pretty sexy and made the three hours I spent at the cinema worthwhile—if not the experience of that song. My poor, poor ears.

 

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Love your weekend, 

Sami

Five of the Best

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I rarely agree with any of those compilations of the ‘best of’ things, like best songs or best movies. My favorites never seem to be on the list. This is probably why I do the top fives. The writer in me editing someon else’s work. Today I thought I’d throw together five movie lines that never seem to appear on any of those best of lists.

1.         Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven, the scene at the end when he walks into the bar and shoots the place up to avenge his friend who was hanged.

Gene Hackman: “You just shot an unarmed man!”

Clint: “He should have armed himself”

Good point.

2.         Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca. There are so many excellent ones. But the one that’s my personal favourite is a little less sophisticated. Rick is having an argument with a rather large gentleman played by Sydney Greenstreet, during which he states:

“You’re a fat hypocrite!”

That’s telling him.

3.         Billy Crystal in When Harry Met Sally. I know the I’ll have what she’s having line is the most famous of the movie, but I always laugh out loud at the scene at the beginning when Harry first says men and women can’t be friends because a man will always want to sleep with an attractive woman:

Sally: “So you’re saying a man can be friends with a woman he thinks is ugly.”

Harry: “No, he’ll pretty much want to nail her too.”

 That’s men for ya.

4.         Goldfinger the villain in the James Bond movie of the same name. He has just tied 007 to a table and a lazer beam is about to burn off a sensitive part of his anatomy. Bond yells:

“Do you expect me to talk?”

Goldfinger (laughing): “No Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”

5.         This is extremely low brow, but I love the part in Happy Gilmore when Shooter McGavin is talking tough to Happy:

Shooter: “I eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast.”

Happy: “You eat pieces of shit for breakfast?”

Oh, the wit!

Sami

Five More Reasons Life is Not a Romance Novel

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  1. No romance novel heroine ever has a truly boring job. No mind-numbing days stuck in a grey cubicle ticking boxes, moving paper from one side of the desk to another. Oh no. They’re all wedding coordinators or reporters or owners of quaint little bookshops frequented by impossibly sexy men looking for an out of print orginal novel for their much loved mother.
  2. In romance novels, chubby girls are always irresistibly voluptuous to even the most gorgeous, hard-bodied stud around. The problem of her lack of fitness never seems to come up, nor does the possibility he’ll meet a Biggest Loser trainer at the gym while his lady love is at home in her porky pig pajamas, eating cookie dough ice-cream and watching While You Were Sleeping for the fiftieth time.
  3. Nothing hurts in romance land except a broken heart. Virgins feel no pain, soap causes no irritation when rubbed over sensitive places and perpetual erections are seen as a sexy little bonus, not a severe medical condition in need of treatment.
  4. Romance novel heroes never picture Jennifer Aniston while making it with their lady loves and heroines never compose mental to do lists during coitus. Err, not that women do that in real life either…
  5. Romance novel heroes have a serious aversion to coming in a woman’s mouth. “Oh baby, you don’t have to do that

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(cover mock ups from world of longmire)

Sami

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